Thanks to Ms. J introduction, a tea friend from The Tea Gallery. David Oller (http://www.oller.net) and Rosanne Tartaro (sunrosearomatics.com) hosted a Kodo gathering this weekend. David was kind enough to bring over 1940's set of Aloewood samples, prepared and produced by a famous Master of Kodo. David then produced a perfect Ko from each of them. Heaven!
I have long been obsessed about pairing aroma to tea. The last time I smelled the waterless pot of the Qing Brick, there was a hint of aloewood in it. The fragrance is so noble and refined that it really opens up one’s mind. At the Kodo gathering, after sampling 5 different kinds of aloewood, David finally pulled out the best one. The molecule of the smoke coated my throat and the windpipe, and slowly developed out to the back of my tongue. Sweet and "Kim" the smoke turns to candy delicious. I can truly relate to a fine vintage pureh with that experience. But, what more is, I long for a cup of tea to pair with the moment....
I usually take at least 3 sessions to be convinced for one tea, then accept it as a "family member". Afterwards, I will pair it with a cigar. This "test" will certainly put it to a statics or if not, fail miserable.... So the question everyone is asking is "Why"?
Pairing fine cheese with choice wine brings out the hidden character of a bottle, which normally details one cannot detach. Some wine connoisseurs pair them with cigar, the smoke molecule that lingers inside the throat can add as a binding to the wine body. Spicy or woody, sweet or astringent, all these will be amplified by the smoke. If the British and the French have been doing this for more than 100 years, why can't we apply the same theory to tea with cigar?
With this question in mind, I enjoyed a beautifully aged 1998 Partagas D4 pairing with 1980's Silver Needle Golden lotus loose puerh. The Lotus flower aroma from the tea was enhanced by the creamy cedar of the smoke, then the spicy, crisp peppier from the body of the cigar was overlayered by the intense moist sweetness of the tea. Sweet and Sour Crispy fried pork loin, who would not appreciate?